It’s a secret

Why is Prince Albert covered up in Holborn? I hope it’s because they are painting him with tippex flowers and their favourite band names like a school pencil case.

Maybe it's a monster

Maybe it’s a monster

 

I will be sure to keep you all posted. W

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Mix me down operator

well it's one for the troubleI wasn’t at work today, so around lunchtime I visited The British Vintage Wireless and Television Museum in West Dulwich. If you love life before i-Pods and 90″ flat screen TV’s, this one’s for you, a trip back in time for all wireless radio and TV fans.

The museum is a collection put together over many years by Gerry Wells an excellent radio and TV service engineer (now retired) who also designed and manufactured his own amplifiers (WADAR – Wells Amplifier Development and Rentals), PA systems and TV’s. Gerry, who’s a very handy chap (he made all the outbuildings himself as well as being an expert with a soldering iron) was one of the UK’s best in restoring and developing radio and television sets and PA’s I was told by my guide, and I didn’t doubt him one bit what with all the functioning old kit all around us!

television and music centre

Secretly I was dying to ask my guide jokingly, “Was banging tellys hard on the top, the best way to fix them when they played up in days of old?” as that’s what my old man used to do in the 1970’s! Above: A well posh all-in-on music centre from the 60’s; a telly, radio and even a turntable hidden away on the right hand side. All you need is a teasmade in the back for the ultimate 1960’s home entertainment station!

saucepan radio

(Above) The brilliantly named Ever Ready Saucepan Special which was designed for shortwave listening in Africa, with insect proof outer casing and painted in the non-superstitious colour of Blue (or so the myth goes on the internet.)

One thing I learnt today, was in the era of horn record players (which had no volume control) one way to turn down the volume was “to put a sock in it” hence the well-known phrase. I found this out while in the front room hearing a classical piece at a ear splitting volume on a lovely old gramophone player with a massive horn (an EMG I think). Loud wasn’t the word and that was with no amplifier!

Cossor

The museum is well worth a gander if you’re that way inclined. A fiver donation is the norm which goes towards running costs as everything is done on a voluntary basis. To arrange a visit please ring 020 8670 3667.

A great film about Gerry Well’s life called “Valveman” is available on preview hereP

Invasion of the…well it’s an animal of some sort

or is it a lizard?

or is it a lizard?

I work right by here and saw the men putting something up, but didn’t really take any notice. Well now it’s there for all to see..a..I’m not sure. It could be a lizard as evidenced by the feet. Or the segmented body would suggest some sort of creepy crawly. Either way, it’s quite lovely and really does a good job of jazzing up a rather dull bit of London.

Look out, John

Look out, John

Pity it’s started attacking cabbies though. W

 

**UPDATE** It IS a lizard. And a large scale replica of a jewel found in the Cheapside hoard…it says here. Well, now we know.

Stars on 45

Stars on 45

Another post in our “not strictly lunch hour” series, a chance to see with the naked eye, a lump of tin (The International Space Station) hurtling around the Earth at 17,000 miles per hour!

I don’t know what prompted me to do this (it was nothing to do with watching “Gravity” or the Channel 4 Live from Space special the other week, honestly!) but last Tuesday I was up at 5.55am with a torch, a compass and my fist at arms length (a quick way of measuring 10 degrees elevation when “rested” on the horizon) looking towards South South West from my kitchen window.

I really didn’t believe I’d see it so I made myself a cup of tea to bring back to bed, then out of the blue at exactly 6.01 am as per the NASA website, a bright light appeared in the sky. A cross between a bright star and a distant plane (the ISS hasn’t got flashing lights on it’s wings) it moved at a steady speed (17,000 m.p.h!) in a Southernly direction for a few minutes.

The space station when seen is the third brightest object in the sky and visible because it’s reflecting light from the Sun. It’s usually on view from Earth early in the morning or in the evening and NASA has a page which alerts you to when and where it will appear in your location (see here). When you realise what you are actually seeing, it’s a magnificent sight!

Also if you want to see live streaming from the ISS 24 hours a day have a look hereP